Credit: UNFCCC

UN Climate Conference ends with “disappointment”

Next year’s event in Glasgow expects to see “upgraded” carbon cut targets

After the exhausting two-week long negotiation that spilled over for a few days, UN Secretary-General António Guterres yesterday issued the statement at the closure of the latest UN Climate Change Conference, aka, COP 25, saying; “I am disappointed with the results of #COP25.”

Mr Guterres said the international community has lost an important opportunity to show increased ambition on mitigation, adaptation and finance to tackle “the climate crisis”.

However, he tried to cheer people up by saying, people must not give up, and he himself will not give up either.

“I am more determined than ever to work for 2020 to be the year in which all countries commit to do what science tells us is necessary to reach carbon neutrality in 2050 and a no more than 1.5 degree temperature rise,” the UN chief said.

By the deadline on Friday in Madrid, Spain, some agreements were made on such issues as capacity building  and tecnology, but an overall deal was held up over disagreement on the larger, and more contentious issues dealing with loss and damage caused by man-made climate change, as well as financing for adaptation.

The negotiators were reported to have worked through Friday night, at the request of the Chilean president of the COP, but a draft version of the outcome text released on Saturday morning was reported to have “underwhelmed” all parties to the negotiations, with representatives of NGOs and civil society describing it as unacceptable, and “a betrayal” of the commitments made under the 2015 Paris climate agreement, the UN News reported.

On late Saturday afternoon, a press conference was held by the COP organisers, explaining that the negotiators were still hard at work, aiming to “show the outside world that we can deliver, that multilateralism works.”

By the evening, there was still no sign of a deal, prompting acclaimed 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg, one of the high-profile speakers at the Climate Action Summit held at UN Headquarters in September, to announce that “it seems like COP25 in Madrid is falling apart right now. The science is clear, but the science is being ignored”, the UN News said.

The BCC reported that COP 25 was the longest UN climate talks on record, which has ended with “a compromise deal”.

The BCC said exhausted delegates finally reached agreement on the key question of increasing the global response to curbing carbon, and that all countries will need to put new climate pledges on the table by the time of the next major conference in Glasgow next year.

Divisions over other questions – including carbon markets – were delayed until the next gathering, the BCC reported.

The Guardian reported that governments at the conference responded to the growing urgency of the crisis with “a partial admission” that carbon-cutting targets are too weak, but few concrete plans to strengthen them in line with the Paris agreement.

“These talks were characterised by squabbling over technical details. Brazil, Australia, the US, China and other major emitters were all accused of holding up progress,” reported the Guardian.

At the conference, merely the European Union had committed to carbon neutrality by 2050, while there were about 73 nations announced that they will submit an enhanced climate action plan (or Nationally Determined Contribution). 

A bit positive happpening was an ambition for a cleaner economy at a regional and local level, with 14 regions, 398 cities, 786 businesses and 16 investors were reported to be working towards achieving net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050. 

Next year’s climate conference will be held in Glasgow, Scotland.

COP26 is being touted as an important milestone in the fight against climate change, as countries are set to present their upgraded national climate plans, that go beyond commitments made under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Sources: UN News, UNFCCC, the BBC, the Guardian